Giants fans had their world turned upside down Wednesday as they began wondering if Landon Collins’ days in New York were numbered.
And Russell Wilson’s name also was floated in connection with the Giants, and that really set the Big Blue internet ablaze.
So the questions are flooding in, and we’ve got answers in this week’s Giants Mailbag.
Question from @ihatedeadends: “Are the Seahawks looking to move Russell Wilson?”
Answer: I doubt they are, even with Wilson at 30 years old entering the last year of his current contract at a $25 million cap hit. However, if Seattle ever did want to trade Wilson, the Giants should be all-in. Outside of Saquon Barkley, I would think there were no untouchables on the entire remainder of the Giants’ roster to include in a trade that brought Wilson to New York.
This started with FOX’s Colin Cowherd saying Wednesday that Wilson’s wife, Ciara, a famous entertainer, would prefer to live in New York, according to something he heard in the “entertainment agent world.” Cowherd also said there is no quarterback in this draft that the Giants love and connected the dots from there.
Sports Illustrated published an excellent piece last fall on the how perceived special treatment of Wilson in Seattle helped tear a great Seahawks roster apart. So there could be leftover resentment or negativity behind the scenes that contributes to a sooner-than-expected parting of ways.
But again, Wilson is such a dynamic player, it’s tough to envision the Seahawks trading him, and if they did deal him, the haul going back to Seattle would have to be enormous. That said, it would be a price worth paying for the Giants.
And if I were GM, I would also make Odell Beckham Jr. untouchable, because then my offense would be Wilson, Barkley and OBJ — and good luck defending that.
Question from @rlahb5: “Is Landon Collins worth the franchise tag?”
Answer: Absolutely. Collins outplayed his rookie contract ($6.1 million total) by a wide margin as a three-time Pro Bowler and 2016 defensive player of the year candidate and first-team All-Pro. On a Giants defense lacking in sufficient talent or depth, Collins is one of the few game-changers.
And while the $11.5-11.75 million franchise tag 2019 salary seems like a fairly large number, it’s more than worth Collins’ contributions. The Rams paid safety Lamarcus Joyner $11.2 million on the franchise tag last year, for frame of reference.
Collins’ pass coverage leaves something to be desired, but he is a ferocious run-stopper. He is instinctive. He has made big plays at big times. He’s a co-captain and a leader. And on a roster with high turnover trying to establish a solid and consistent culture, Collins is a home-grown Giants draft pick well-liked and respected inside the locker room and by fans.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher loves Collins and uses him as a roving X-factor, as a safety, a linebacker, a blitzer, you name it. Essentially, he is a centerpiece of the scheme. It’d be more than worth it to franchise him, compared to trading him while he’s rehabbing from injury and likely not retrieving the true worth of such a player in return.
Question from Mike via email: “Do you think Collins will be a Giant in the 2019 season?”
Answer: I do. Even though Collins and agent David Mulugheta now are holding the Giants’ feet to the fire to get a long-term contract, I don’t think a long holdout is Collins’ personal style and I think he would play on the franchise tag eventually if it came to it (as he said on breakup day).
The Giants also cannot be their best selves in 2019 without Collins, plain and simple. Now, this does give Collins leverage in negotiations on a long-term contract, which I do believe he deserves based on his play. But I also believe what Collins said on Dec. 31, that if he has to bet on himself on the tag to earn a mega-long-term deal, so be it.
The former Alabama standout is confident if nothing else. Plus, he doesn’t want to leave the Giants. He has said many times he wants to stay with this organization his whole career if possible. And I believe him. And the Giants value him. So however it happens, he should be a Giant on the field in 2019.
Question from John via email: “Will Collins’ tactics impact the Giants’ interest in Dwayne Haskins?”
Answer: Mulugheta, Collins’ agent, also represents Haskins. So I understand the question. Could Collins’ public play on Wednesday impact the Giants’ willingness to draft Haskins if they anticipate an even more controversial public contract fight with their future franchise QB?
Not necessarily, but you never know. Every situation is different. An agent is paid to advocate for his clients, who all have specific circumstances. So if Collins’ situation deserves one type of treatment or tactic, that doesn’t mean that agent will handle the next player’s negotiations and business the same way.
The motivation behind Mulugheta’s play on Wednesday seems to be frustration that the Giants haven’t even begun negotiations with him on a long-term deal with Collins. So that appears to be what set off the whole power play over an emptied locker that wasn’t really emptied (but kind of was).